Sunday 15 December 2013

Chipmunk N861WP revisited.

pasturepilot has given me a rev up over my posting on the Chipmunk N861WP at :-
pasturepilot said :-
 "OH, but you are missing out on the story this plane has to tell!
N861WP had a distinguished student, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, flew this aircraft during flight training. I believe he soloed in this aircraft, if memory serves.
I grew up hanging around this bird in the 90's near Atlanta, Georgia, and flew her, twice.
The gentleman who owned her passed earlier this year and I was wondering where she'd ended up after the sale years ago. Looks like several transactions later, she's still in good hands! "

Well I guess I assumed that everybody already knew this about its "Royal" connection.
Below is a pic of WP861 taken on 04-01-1964 by Ian M Macdonald and comes via Air Britain files.
 And below as seen on 15-06-1968 by Brian Bickers - also via Air Britain.
For a quick (hands on !!) walk round with the "Duke" see :-
Below is an extract from
"As with several previous de Havilland aircraft, the Chipmunk was to have royal connections in Britain. A brand new T.10 was delivered to RAF White Waltham and used to teach HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to fly. Trained by Flight Lieutenant Caryl Gordon, the Duke made his first solo on December 20, 1952."
Below we have some reasonably recent close up shots of WP861/N861WP.

For N861WP air to air check out :-
And below we see her at Forest Field on October the 6th this year.


  1. My name is Bevan Dewes and I am the current owner of WP861 based in Masterton.

    As seen above the aircraft has fabulous provenance. WP861 was the first aircraft Prince Philip flew during his flight training in 1952-3 he flew 16hrs 35 mins in this aircraft including his basic stage flight test. the other chipmunk Prince Philip flew was WP912 which is now in the RAF Museum Crosford.

    I have been lucky enough to acquire over time several letters from previous Captains of the Queens flight, Owners of WP861, even Prince Philip himself. I also have the aircrafts RAF movements cars and copies of Prince Philip's logbook for the period of his training.

    Certainly very lucky to be able to be the 'care taker of this significant aircraft'

    I hope to eventually repaint the aircraft into its original RAF colour scheme it has at the time Prince Philip flew it.

  2. I flew 861 many times while a student in the University of London Air Squadron 1967-69. I am now Chairman of the ULAS ex-members association and while visiting the current Squadron HQ at Northolt noticed a very nice oil painting of 861 presented to Prince Philip after his training. I would be happy to send you a photo of this painting if you're interested. Very glad to hear 861 is still giving such pleasure. Kevin Cooper